Hawthorn champion Lance Franklin admits his decision to delay contract talk until the end of the year will be a distraction but says he does not want to leave the club.
Franklin stunned the Hawks when he announced he wouldn't negotiate his new contract until the season was over. The Coleman medallist is a free agent at the end of 2013, leaving him open to offers from other clubs.
With Gary Ablett famously putting off contract talks with Geelong before then moving to Gold Coast, and Tom Scully doing the same thing before switching to GWS, Franklin's decision is a bombshell.
Fremantle have previously declared they won't pursue Franklin despite chasing Travis Cloke and Mitch Clark in previous years while the Hawk's close friend Sharrod Wellingham now plays for West Coast.
But Franklin said he didn't want to leave the Hawks but preferred to focus on football during the season.
"I love Hawthorn," Franklin said.
"They've been an absolutely great footy club for myself. This is coming up to my ninth season.
"It was just my decision. It's something I wanted to do. I wanted to leave it to the end of the season.
"I know there's going to be a lot of speculation about what I'm going to be doing at the end of the season but I just want to play football. I've got no intention of leaving the football club.
"But it is what it is. I just want to play footy.
"It's going to be a distraction. Obviously the footy club is shocked that I didn't sign either, but it's my decision.
"I don't get entangled in anyone else's contracts or any of the boys from the footy club. It's just something that's not talked about.
"Internally it won't be spoken about. We just look forward to playing footy and hopefully winning a premiership."
Franklin will play his first game of 2013 when he captains the Indigenous All Stars team against Richmond in Alice Springs on Friday night.